Tuesday, 23 January 2024 00:00

Treatment Options for Hammertoe

Hammertoe, a condition where one or more toes bend abnormally at the middle joint, resembling a hammer, can result from various causes. One major factor is ill-fitting footwear, especially shoes with a tight toe box or high heels, forcing toes into a bent position and causing muscle imbalances. Individuals with longer toes, flat feet, or bunions are more susceptible, as are those with a family history of the condition. Hammertoe symptoms include toe deformity, pain, calluses, swelling, and difficulty in walking. Diagnosis involves a physical exam and X-rays, and treatment options depend on toe flexibility. In early stages, nonsurgical approaches like proper footwear, exercises, and splints can help. Surgery may be necessary if the toe becomes rigid. Early intervention is essential to manage hammertoe effectively. If you have a hammertoe that is causing you discomfort, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for the best treatment option for you.

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists of New England Foot and Ankle. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.


Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.


  • Painful and/or difficult toe movement
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness
  • Calluses/Corns
  • Physical deformity

Risk Factors

  • Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
  • Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
  • Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
  • Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe


If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Chelmsford and Newburyport, MA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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